In line with the focus of the 41st session, Switzerland actively promoted women's rights. Together with Iceland, it presented a resolution in favor of equal pay calling on States to take concrete steps to eliminate gender disparities in all areas. This resolution – the first to be adopted by the HRC on this issue – garnered broad support from States and was adopted by consensus.
Switzerland also introduced, together with several partner States, a resolution on forced and child marriage. The resolution explores the consequences of this practice on women and girls and calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on available measures to ensure access to justice for victims at national and local levels.
The HRC has also continued addressing the human rights situations in countries around the world, including Belarus, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela. It also adopted a new resolution on the Philippines, which calls on the government to prevent enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions as well as to conduct independent investigations into such practices. The issue of enforced disappearances was also discussed in light of the presentation of the UN Special Rapporteur's report on the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
During the session, Switzerland advocated for the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law, when the latter is applicable, in conflict settings. In particular, it stressed the importance of respecting human rights in order to prevent the escalation of conflicts, and expressed this position in relation to the situations in Myanmar, Nicaragua, Sudan and Venezuela, as well as in Colombia, Libya, Ukraine and Syria.
Finally, in a number of dialogues with special rapporteurs and independent experts, Switzerland seized the opportunity to emphasise the importance of their work. Mandated by the HRC to report on specific issues or the situation in a particular country, the special rapporteurs and independent experts significantly contribute to the promotion, respect and implementation of human rights worldwide. Switzerland was actively engaged towards the mandates’ renewal of several special rapporteurs, including those on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, on violence against women, as well as on the situations in Belarus and Eritrea.
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